We all have a past, and no matter where we come from, we've seen darkness at some point. The thoughts that make us doubt ourselves usually come from experiences that shape our realities. We collect regret, anger, and shame that can always resurface after we push it away. It's easy to feel like an outsider when I compare my darkest moments to other people’s highlights. But every one of us is broken in our own way. Genuine transformation happens through Jesus, yet that doesn't mean we forget our pain. Even when we step toward the light, we wonder if it's okay to have a “dark side.” The truth is, everyone has a dark side, and the question is what we should do with it.
Once in a while, I wake up in a funk. Or, when I'm on a long drive, my mind will wander to the crevices where my deepest thoughts lie in wait. When I feel a battle between good and evil within me, I know it is probably a sign of a spiritual turning point. It's easy to let my dark side act as a backseat driver, but the road is less bumpy when I let Jesus take the wheel. Instead of ignoring our turmoil, we need to face it and give it to God. It won't just go away, but God's love will overcome it.
Although it is part of who we are, our past does not define our future. As the Apostle Paul said, "Jesus came to save all sinners, of whom I am the worst." (1 Timothy 1:15) There was no proof that he was, in fact, "the worst," but to him, it was true because he had denied Jesus in every way. For years, Paul persecuted Christians and lived in hatred toward those that didn't share his beliefs. And then Jesus brought radical transformation to his life. Paul's newfound faith changed the world, yet that doesn't mean he forgot the man he once was. Surely he had days where he felt painful remorse for the people he had tortured. Paul was made new through Jesus, but his darkness is a huge part of how his story brought God's Word to countless lives.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:5
It is through the existence of darkness that we seek the light. We all have darkness somewhere inside us, and we connect through empathy for human vulnerability. But if your dark side is an active acceptance of sin, that will hurt you and those around you. If you feel like you're carrying a hidden weight, God doesn't want you to grin and bear it. He wants you to find relief in Him, your friends, family, and sometimes through professional help. We aren't meant to walk with shadows on our hearts. The shadows don't make us stronger; it's how we overcome them that does. Our identity is always in Jesus, and our character comes from how we follow Him.
No matter how many mistakes we make or what struggles we face, we are worthy of grace. Every time we mess up, we can know that God's love never fails. We don't need to live in fear and shame. Still, it's okay to use our negative experiences to heighten our awareness of our choices. It's okay to have regrets, but we are more likely to repeat them if we live in them. When we choose to start fresh, we let go of the things that hold us back and still carry the pieces that make us who we are. We all have baggage and we all have a savior that will set us free.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17
Is there someone that you've given up on? Whether that person is you or someone else, no one is ever beyond hope. No matter the odds, Jesus changes everything. Do you believe in His power to transform?
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.